John Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing was published in 1857. In the third chapter, Letter III, On Colour and Composition, he introduces his nine laws of composition. Macnamara refers to these laws as a sort of checklist for what is right in a composition. Still, when painting flocks of birds, she adjusts the compositions to suit her sensibilities. But nothing works as well as when she remains true to the flock's particular choreography. As she finishes each piece Macnamara discovers that each arrangement adheres to one or more of Ruskin's Laws of composition. She knows they flock in certain ways to save energy and insure the success of the species, not to please the viewer. The birds just seem to get it right. Macnamara is the Artist-in-Residence at the Field Museum.